Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Long Wait for More Competent Physicians, Nurses and Midwives Nears End

As was mentioned in the speech of Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, at the WHO/PEPFAR consultation on transformative scale up of medical, nursing and midwifery education, the need for transformative change in the health care education has long been overdue. It’s enclosed in the opening remarks delivered by Dr. Chan, wherein emphasis was largely given to the huge disparity of physician-patient ratio as well as 20th century standard of education.

The long wait must be over, and it’s about time for effective reforms to become reality, not just in the developed and developing countries, more so in the poor lands where there is a greater need for practitioners wearing lab coats and scrubs uniforms. Sub-Saharan Africa is hit most hard by this problem, the places where there is also the greatest need for care because the disease burden in these places is also the greatest.

What could the educational reform for physicians, nurses and midwives do for Africa? The goal is to improve education for these groups of health care workers in order to bring the physician-to-population ratio, at least, in near balance for better health care. How to retain the products of such improved educational system is but another issue.

Currently, some of the new policies are already under way in Africa. Community-based education allows students to have hands-on experience in the community work. Schools also use problem-based and multi-disciplinary team-based learning. But such competency trainings remain short in matching priority domestic health needs. These problems are made more burdensome due to the low quality graduates that resulted from the weak systems in secondary education, not enough number of students can enroll in nursing and medical schools to wear their dreamed nurses uniforms. Many students who have the abilities and brain to pass face financial difficulty, further cutting the number of enrollees. Africa is also left far behind when it comes to information technology, putting the learning capacity of students in a very limited area.

Moving into the mainstream, overloaded work and low salary rate are the biggest blockages. The incentive program done by some companies is far from being enough in order to keep graduates in the sub-Sahara. For instance, the salary of a registered nurse working in for acute care is R120,216, which equals only to $17,634. An acute care nurse practitioner in the U.S., though, receives an average of 78,000 USD or 531,733 ZAR, the total amount of salary for almost four and a half months of an acute care RN in Africa. The difference is clearly huge. These problems are also the most probable reasons why many students, who go to Europe or North America for specialized post-graduate training, never return to serve the countries that invested in their basic trainings.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Chan mentioned about financial support and partnering of African schools with U.S. institutions, and the need to upgrade infrastructures and laboratories. Specific plans of the committee plans to help solve the problems in health care education in Africa and in other poor and vulnerable countries are yet to be revealed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shorter Work Hours for Rookie Doctors Approved

Once doctors are dressed up in medical scrubs and lab coats, it means having to rip themselves again for the rest of the day. Those uniforms are usually soiled when the clock strikes the last minute of the shift. They won’t have much time for snacks and naps, let alone find new Cherokee uniforms or even clearance scrubs so they’d have extra medical scrubs and lab coats whenever work gets tough on their uniforms. But the real problem goes beyond having hardly any time for rest and some other things that employees necessitate. It goes all the way down to patient safety and health care workers’ health. And there goes the rules for work hours that rookie doctors should have.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s board or directors approved on Tuesday, 27th of September 2010, new rules devised for 110,000 new doctors currently being trained in the U.S. hospitals. First year residents will be given 16 hours of work and strategic napping. Those in their second year of residency and beyond will be given 24 hours at most. The new rules are believed to improve patient safety by reducing medical errors committed by the juniors due to exhaustion from extremely long hours of work. This is also aimed to ensure employees’ health and safety rights are protected.

Other changes in the new rules will also include the following:

Hierarchy spelled to patients. New medical residents must tell patients that they are new and are still being supervised by more experienced physicians. Somehow, this would serve as warning signal for patients, suggesting they must be more vigilant about their health condition and about how the rookie is working with treatment procedures they are receiving.

Strengthen supervisory requirements. The rules speak of specific type of close supervision the first-year residents should receive from their superiors. Subsequently, tasks to be given must accord one’s demonstrated skills. Superiors must carefully assess the rookie’s skills before he or she is given additional new tasks.

Second-year residents and beyond should be on-call only once in every 3 nights on-call. This rule can be averaged over four weeks or one month, which means can be on call every other night. This makes for a high probability of disrupted sleep that may develop into chronic sleep deprivation.

The newly approved rules provide shorter work shifts and stricter supervision for rookies, but the American Medical Student Association seeks for more, wanting stronger limits not just for first-year residents but for others too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nurses Need What Race Cars Receive to Keep Energy Up

Nurses and race cars are expected to perform their best up to the end of every game. But unlike the race cars that can get more miles further, nurses often are too exhausted to busy themselves of some other things after a shift. It’s basically the result of abusing their body, eating junks, and draining all energy up the limit without giving them enough time for full recovery.

How, then, can a nurse work the entire shift and still have high energy to party? Look into the similarities of nurses and cars and follow the 5 simple tips that will make you work like the best hotrod in town.

Race Car – Do not fill diesel engine with gasoline. An engine requires the right fuel to ensure utmost performance and mileage
Nurse – Fill it up with the right source of energy. Sugary foods, for the sake of quick energy boost, are never recommended. Just as how quick it makes the body run, it’s also how quickly the energy crashes. So stay away from donuts and cupcakes. Eat right.
Race Car – Fill in the tank with the right fuel. The right combination of chemicals in the right fuel is the main reason why the engine is able to crank up right and keep stable performance in the track.

Nurse – By having good combination of low-protein and heavily-packed carbohydrate snack, a nurse can stay energized all throughout. The carbohydrate works to bring the energy up quickly and the protein keeps it sustained so there’s no energy crashing at the latter part of the day. Eat the right foods.
Race Car – The engine can fail once drained of fuel, so don’t miss the gas station for refueling. And make sure to fill in the tank before the engine runs out of gas.

Nurse – It’s never good to eat only when you are absolutely starving, since almost all energy is already consumed by then. Eat about every 2 hours to ensure you have something to burn evenly. Make use of your break times. Eat throughout the day.
Race Car – Keep a good level of fuel. The engine takes in only enough amount of fuel in the combustion chamber

Nurse – Don’t over eat. Take in just the right amount of food for burning energy. Keep moderate meals; the rest of the supply can later on be ingested. A variety of healthy food, with vegetables being the main feature, will ensure the body keeps a balance diet.
Race Car - Allow for necessary time to restore and rebuild. A car can get overwhelmed when overused, and its parts also wear out. Subsequently, restoration and rebuilding is done to keep improve or maintain its mechanics as well as ensure optimal performance.

Nurse – Enough rest and exercise will make sure a nurse feels energized everyday. Long sleep on the week ends boost brain power, according to a recent study. You might as well try this whenever you get overwhelming week.

Fender flares, wings, or even a supercharger cannot hide any trouble in the engine, or any other vital part of the race car. The transmission system and even the brakes will surely feel the brunt. Similarly, concealers and blush ons cannot hide the exhaustion that’s written all over a nurse’s face. Even if he or she wear a fashion Cherokee scrubs or hip Dickies uniforms, the exhaustion cannot be hidden. So keep a good routine of maintenance, restoration and fueling of your body.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thousands of Doctors and Nurses to Aid Haiti Earthquake Victims

Our doctors and nurses cannot simply watch as their fellow heath care workers sleep only a very few hours in order to answer the call of duty. Dozens of doctors and nurses in the United States of America prepared themselves and the necessary medical equipments to bring aid to the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. They will temporarily leave the technology-aided practice of profession in the big city to work alongside their fellow doctors and nurses in Haiti.

The current situation of Haiti as of the moment is severe and far from adequate source of electricity, high tech equipments, and even safe water. Registered nurses from across the country, numbering at about 9,200 have already packed gauze, rubber gloves and other medical supplies, and will fly to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They expect to help in areas wherein their voluntary help is needed the most.

In the aftermath of the Earthquake, Haitians are dying from contaminated water more than anything else. Situation is expected to worsen as cholera and measles would soon also strike the already ill-stricken country.

Now, more than ever, volunteer nurses and doctors are needed. The medical organizations are expecting more to enlist. We deeply thank everyone who comes in their nursing scrubs and lab coats to aid the Haitians.

LATimes mentioned in an article some of the nurses who dedicated a part of their lives to the victims of Haiti earthquake, and we also want to extend our heartfelt thanks to them.

The doctors and nurses of Los Angeles Country-USC Medical Center
Members of Southern California Nurses Association
Antelope Valley Hospital
Claudel Thamas – critical nurse
Lunie Dorcin – Nurse
Ramon Cestero – trauma and critical care surgeon, County-USC
Kimberly Adams – RN
Thousands other more

Photo of new life children's home.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How To Be A Happy Nurse At Work

Know Yourself

Before you take a step into the nursing world, build a real nurse in you. You can help develop yourself by reading lots of substantial materials. You need not stay in the library most of the time neither should you know every bookstore in town. And if you don’t like reading very much, the free audio downloads in the internet will do well also. Talking to others, especially to those who are experienced, can also help develop yourself while already in the profession – letting you find your passion and know your interests in life.

Love What You Do

When you no longer see your current work as thrilling as before, you start falling into the world of boredom and simply see the job as a routine that you have to deal with everyday. If you feel like you’re into this problematic state already, look into the positive things. This way, you’d start loving your job again. And this kind of thinking is a sturdy pillar you can use when you work as a nurse.

See Problems as Opportunity to Grow

The problems you face everyday are challenges from which you can learn. Complaining and asking others to provide you solutions is acting like a baby crying when he wants a bottle of milk in his mouth. But if you find solutions yourself, you’ll be amazed at how easy you would be able to deal with future problems. You can ask your colleagues for ideas. Brainstorm with a group of people. That should make a good start.